West German Prosperity

January 29, 1969

Report Outline
Federal Republic's Economic Strength
Miracle of Postwar Economic Recovery
A Look Ahead at the German Economy
Special Focus

Federal Republic's Economic Strength

Political Significance of West Germany's Boom

The federal republic of Germany has been catapulted by its economic prowess into the status of a first-class power. This pre-eminence was reflected in the emergence of the German mark, from a series of international monetary crises in 1967–68, as the world's strongest currency. In the past year, the Federal Republic has become the leading financial and industrial nation of Western Europe, with the largest gold hoard, the soundest economy, and the best-disciplined, most industrious work force.

West Germany is the second largest trading nation in the world, behind only the United States; and it is third, after the United States and the Soviet Union, in industrial production. Domestically, the country's economy has achieved a goal hitherto unattained in an open society—full employment without inflation. That accomplishment in itself has been called a miracle, paralleling the miracle of Germany's recovery from the devastating human and material losses of World War II.

The fact that West Germany with its 60 million people seems to have regained the rank of a world power raises momentous political questions, such as whether the North Atlantic Treaty Organization can continue indefinitely to base its strategy for the defense of Western Europe on maintenance of American, British, and French troops and weapons on German soil; what direction West Germany's policy may take on reunion with what it calls “the other part of Germany”; and what adjustments may be expected in international councils in consequence of shifting power relationships resulting from the growth of West German influence and from the shaky economic position of some other leading Western powers. Dramatic changes in the immediate future are hardly likely. In the longer run, however, Germany's economic vigor, barring unforeseen setbacks, will undoubtedly be translated into stronger leadership on the international scene.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Dec. 22, 1989  A Primer on German Reunification
Apr. 19, 1985  German Reconciliation
Feb. 25, 1983  West Germany's ‘Missile’ Election
Jan. 14, 1970  German Reconciliation
Jan. 29, 1969  West German Prosperity
Mar. 30, 1966  German Border Question and Reunification
Aug. 18, 1965  West German Election, 1965
Feb. 24, 1965  War Guilt Expiation
Jul. 01, 1964  German Question
Sep. 01, 1961  Captive East Germany
Aug. 23, 1961  West German Election, 1961
May 04, 1960  Berlin Question
Dec. 24, 1958  Berlin Crisis and German Reunification
Aug. 21, 1957  German Election, 1957
Oct. 19, 1955  European Security
Jun. 15, 1955  Germany and the Balance of Power
Oct. 19, 1954  German Rearmament
Jan. 19, 1954  West German Recovery
Mar. 12, 1953  Harassed Berlin
Apr. 26, 1950  German Problem
Feb. 18, 1948  Rehabilitation of the Ruhr
Oct. 23, 1946  Future of Germany
Nov. 25, 1944  Transfers of Populations
Nov. 01, 1940  Economic Controls in Nazi Germany
Mar. 09, 1939  Foreign Trade in German Economy
Apr. 02, 1936  Germany's Post-War European Relations
Nov. 02, 1934  The Coming Saab Plebiscite
Apr. 23, 1931  The Austro-German Customs Union Project
Feb. 05, 1929  The Rhineland Problem
Nov. 07, 1924  German National Elections December, 1924
Apr. 30, 1924  The German National Elections
International Finance
Regional Political Affairs: Europe